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Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine ›› 2013, Vol. 11 ›› Issue (1): 45-53.doi: 10.3736/jintegrmed2013008

Special Issue: Acupuncture & Moxibustion

• Global Views • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Acupuncture in ancient China: How important was it really?

Hanjo Lehmann()   

  1. Deutsches Institut für TCM, Cranachstr. 1, D-12157 Berlin, Germany
  • Received:2012-04-27 Accepted:2012-06-18 Online:2013-01-10 Published:2013-01-15

Although acupuncture theory is a fundamental part of the Huangdi Neijing, the clinical application of the needle therapy in ancient China was always a limited one. From early times there have been warnings that acupuncture might do harm. In books like Zhang Zhongjing’s Shanghanlun it plays only a marginal role. Among the 400 emperors in Chinese history, acupuncture was hardly ever applied. After Xu Dachun called acupuncture a “lost tradition” in 1757, the abolition of acupuncture and moxibustion from the Imperial Medical Academy in 1822 was a radical, but consequent act. When traditional Chinese medicine was revived after 1954, the “New Acupuncture” was completely different from what it had been in ancient China. The conclusion, however, is a positive one: The best time acupuncture ever had was not the Song dynasty or Yuan dynasty, but is now - and the future of acupuncture does not lie in old scripts, but in ourselves.

Key words: Acupuncture, Acupuncture moxibustion science, Traditional Chinese medicine, History of medicine

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